Sponsored by She Caused a Riot by Hannah Jewell
Anthony Scaramucci, the hedge fund advisor turned White House Communications Director to President Donald Trump (for just 10 days in July), has signed a book deal for The Blue Collar President: How Trump Is Reinventing the Aspirational Working Class, a spokesperson at publisher Hachette confirmed Wednesday to The Hollywood Reporter. The book will be published in September by the company’s Nashville-based Center Street imprint.
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Tapas Media are pleased to announce the upcoming release of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, a modern-day adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women in full-color graphic novel form, to commemorate its 150th anniversary with a new generation of readers.
The themes and plot of the original story remain the heart of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, as the beloved March sisters support each other through the seasons while their father serves in the US armed forces. In this modernized retelling, the March family is blended, multiracial and LGBTQ-inclusive, with updates making it resonant to an even wider swath of today’s young readers.
A+, will read.
With production currently underway in Italy, HBO has released two first look images at their upcoming adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s bestselling novel, “My Brilliant Friend.” The new images give a glimpse at the series’ central characters — Elena and Lila — played during two key periods in their lives, with newcomers Elisa Del Genio and Ludovica Nasti on board to play the pair as young children, with teenage actresses Margherita Mazzucco and Gaia Girace stepping in for the latter portion of the eight-part series.
A first look at My Brilliant Friend!
Get the psychological thriller CULT for $0.99 exclusively with this link: http://amzn.to/2FNgRTz
Today’s Featured Deals
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald for $1.99. Get it here, or just click the cover image below:
I’m Judging You for $1.99. Get it here, or just click the cover image below:
In Case You Missed Yesterday’s Most Popular Deal
How Dare the Sun Rise by Sandra Uwiringiyimana for $2.99. Get it here, or just click the cover image below:
Previous daily deals that are still active (as of this writing at least). Get ’em while they’re hot.
Idaho by Emily Ruskovich for $1.99.
Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson for $2.99.
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A recommended underappreciated pick: Oreo by Fran Ross for $1.99.
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Do you remember the original Voltron television show? I do. I used to go across the street to the neighbor’s house to watch it (I don’t remember why but I remember doing it). It was my first exposure to anime and I loved it. Were there flaws? In retrospect, yes. Billions of them but I didn’t know that at the time. I just knew there were robot lions who became a robot dude and good versus evil and adventures and a giant sword.
The joint Dreamworks Animation–Netflix project Voltron: Legendary Defender, first launched in June of 2016, is more than a revival; it’s a reimagining with a much stronger female presence in both leadership and STEM roles (and presence period), higher stakes for heroes and villains alike, and, well, a not-pervy Prince Lotor (the original was very much a product of his time while the new highly intelligent, charming, badass, and (let’s face it) pretty Lotor is a product of ours). And, whereas the Voltron of the ’80s was entirely action driven, this new incarnation, while exciting and full of adventure, discovery, and operatic space battles, is, at its heart, about people: the five Paladins, Princess Allura, Coran, Lotor, Haggar, Zarkon, and many others.
I had the opportunity to sit down with producers/directors Lauren Montgomery (The Legend of Korra, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths), Joaquim Dos Santos (The Legend of Korra, Avatar: The Last Airbender), character designer Christine Bian (The Legend of Korra—seeing a pattern yet?), and actor Josh Keaton (The Spectacular Spider-Man, Avengers: Secret Wars) who voices team leader Takashi Shirogane (Shiro) at a round-table during Emerald City Comic Con and talk to them about the newly released 6 episode season 5, the directions in which they’re planning to take the characters and story, and how each of them came to work on Voltron.
Of course, this being Book Riot, I got literary and asked each of the interviewees about the books and comic books they turn to when searching for inspiration. And while they all explained their creative reservoir was the sum of a myriad different influences, I was able to nail down a few go-tos:
Originally a video game, the property does have a manga incarnation titled Monster Hunter Orage (Hiro Mashima), first serialized in “Monthly Shōnen Rival,” a Japanese magazine that was published between 2008 and 2014. The story, which revolves around Shiki’s mission to track monsters of myth and legend to the far ends of the Earth with a team of fellow Hunters, has since been collected in four trade volumes.
Substrata: Open Worlds Dark Fantasy:
Bian cites dark fantasy and video game artist Paul Richards as one of her influences. You can find his work in Substrata, a collaborative book created by 80 different video game artists “without the constraint of committee design,” a hypothetical shared world in which character, setting, and interface designers were urged to run with their wildest imaginings. The results are fantastical, magical, and as impossible as the Robeasts which plague Voltron as the team attempts to free the universe from the clutches of the vicious Galra Empire.
Joaquim Dos Santos
Dos Santos credits Stephen King for his propensity in throwing together disparate characters and “seeing what happens.” He also explained that his enjoyment of the famed horror author’s oeuvre influences his inclusion of a tragic element in his stories and also his (frankly amazing) ability to balance epic plot points and individual stories to create extraordinary characters to whom viewers can not only relate but in whom they want to invest.
Keaton returns to his old favorites for inspiration and preparation: Spider-Man and Green Lantern. The voice actor finds the former helps him frame his characters as an everyman who, by virtue of circumstance, becomes extraordinary, yet still remains the person he was before. Parker’s double life, the fact that for him to discuss it would put everyone he loves in danger, that he suffers from PTSD but manages to continue with his mission and with his life, helps Keaton get inside the head of a brave, heroic, intense, troubled Shiro, Shiro the human, who has been the prisoner of a despotic regime, forced to fight as a gladiator, scarred physically and emotionally, but who is still a good man who cares intensely about his found family and, indeed, every individual enslaved by the Galra. Green Lantern, Keaton continued, is his model for the military bearing of ace pilot and mission commander Takeshi Shirogane, the strategic thinker and decision maker who can’t always do what he would like, but always does what is necessary.
Season 5 of Voltron dropped on Netflix March 2nd and season 6 is slated for June of this year, so you have plenty of time to catch up. And if you want more once you’ve binged the series thus far, Lion Forge Comics released the second TBP of their Voltron: Legendary Defender tie-in (Pilgrimage) on February 13th. It’s a delightful book I read with and to my kids, and I recommend it highly for fans of both the original and new show. I am eagerly awaiting an announcement of the next arc.
Dinosaur Bookends: Why does that T-Rex have a duffel bag? Is it full of books? Most intriguing.
Book-It Enamel Pin: Amp up the nostalgia factor with this pin based on every reader’s favorite reward program.
Arthur Library Tee: Arthur knows what’s up.
Haruki Murakami Print: Expand your mind. And your bookshelf.
This Weekend Sweatshirt: Block off your calendar, you’re all booked.
This list first appeared in the Audiobooks Newsletter. Sign-up for the Audiobooks Newsletter here.
As a Californian, I like to tell myself that spring starts in March, despite whatever Nor’easter New Englanders might be suffering through. And spring is exciting not only for the (hopefully, eventually) warmer weather, but also because there are a ton of new releases every spring. Here are the audiobooks I’m most looking forward to getting in my ears.
The Shape of Water by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus; narrated by Jenna Lamia
Release date: 03-06-18
I haven’t seen the movie The Shape of Water but everyone I know who has seen it raves about it (it is about sex with a fish, though, right? I’m still a little unclear about that part). I didn’t realize it was also a book until I started looking at the new releases but the site io9 claims it’s just as good. “Most movie novelizations do little more than write down what audiences see on the screen. But the novel that’s accompanying Guillermo del Toro’s new movie The Shape of Water is no mere adaptation. Co-author Daniel Kraus’s book and the film tell the same story, of a mute woman who falls in love with an imprisoned and equally mute creature, in two very different ways.”
Raw: My Journey into the Wu-Tang written and read by Lamont “U-God” Hawkins
Release date: 03-06-18
One of the founding members of the Wu-Tang Clan tells his story of how he went from a kid in Brooklyn, New York, to a founding member of one of the biggest hip-hop groups in history. U-God says, “It’s time to write down not only my legacy, but the story of nine dirt-bomb street thugs who took our everyday life—scrappin’ and hustlin’ and tryin’ to survive in the urban jungle of New York City—and turned that into something bigger than we could possibly imagine, something that took us out of the projects for good, which was the only thing we all wanted in the first place.”
Bachelor Nation: Inside the World of America’s Favorite Guilty Pleasure written and read by Amy Kaufman
Release date: 03-06-18
I am immersed in pop culture enough to know that I am in the vast MINORITY of people who have never seen an episode of any of the Bachelor(ette) shows. BUT I am very, very pro guilty pleasures. And while I am not a member of Bachelor nation, the description of this book from the publisher kinda makes me think maybe I should be. “Bachelor Nation is the first behind-the-scenes, unauthorized look into the reality television phenomenon. Los Angeles Times journalist Amy Kaufman is a proud member of Bachelor Nation and has a long history with the franchise—ABC even banned her from attending show events after her coverage of the program got a little too real for their liking. She has interviewed dozens of producers, contestants, and celebrity fans to give readers never-before-told details of the show’s inner workings: what it’s like to be trapped in the mansion “bubble”; dark, juicy tales of producer manipulation; and revelations about the alcohol-fueled debauchery that occurs long before the fantasy suite.” Sounds a little like the Fire and Fury of the Bachelor-house, no? (Which I mean in the best possible way! Juicy, juicy gossip. And in the case of Bachelor Nation, you don’t have to worry about it leading to the actual end of the world!)
The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed; narrated by Rebekkah Ross
Release date: 03-13-18
I am a huge fan of Amy Reed’s YA books and this one is about as timely as you can get. Following the rape of a classmate, three misfit students band together to avenge the crime and transform the misogynist culture around them. (Wo)man oh (Wo)man, between the Time’s Up movement and the students in Parkland’s awesome activism, The Nowhere Girls is a perfect listen.
Fisherman’s Blues written and read by Anna Badkhen
Release date: 03-13-18
The best journalism zeroes in on the micro to tell a story about the macro, and that’s exactly what this Fisherman’s Blues does. The impact of climate change on the planet is, and will continue to be, unequivocally devastating. Anna Badkhen looks examines the devastation of a Senegalese Fishing community, whose economy and way of life has been decimated by overfishing and climate change. LitHub calls the book, “A[n] intimate, urgent, and compassionate narrative about how human and natural landscapes are being interrupted by the Anthropocene.”
Ginger Kid: Mostly True Tales from a Former Nerd written and read by Steve Hofstetter
Release date: 03-20-18
I’m super excited about this book for two reasons: I think there needs to be more YA nonfiction in general and there can never be too many books about kids and teens who feel like they just don’t fit in. If you can get a comedian or otherwise very funny person to write one of those books? Icing on the cake. “In Ginger Kid, popular comedian Steve Hofstetter grapples with life after seventh grade…when his world fell apart. Formatted as a series of personal essays, Steve walks his listeners through awkward early dating, family turbulence, and the revenge of the bullied nerds.”
Did I miss any exciting new releases? What are you looking forward to getting in your ears? Let me know in the comments!
If you’ve thumbed through your friends’ Instagram stories lately, you might be seeing what the cool kids are calling “templates.” These surveys or quizzes (as we called them in my day, when Quizilla was still a thing) help your followers get to know you a little bit better. I’ve seen everything from fitness to Gilmore Girls-inspired templates. While I follow Book Riot’s Instagram (and you should, too!), there can never be enough bookish content on my Instagram feed. So, here are three great bookish Instagram story templates for you to use. We hope you’ll play along by downloading the images and uploading them to your story with your responses!
What are your favorite bookish tags to follow on Instagram? Do you have any bookish Instagram story templates? Want more bookish Instagram? We got you.
This week’s featured book trailer is The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard, from Blackstone Publishing.
Will Hurley was an attractive, charming, and impressive student at Dublin’s elite St. John’s College—and Ireland’s most prolific serial killer. Freshman Alison Smith soon fell hard for Will Hurley. Her world bloomed—and then imploded when Will was uncovered as the Canal Killer. Ten years later, detectives visit Will in jail to see if he can assist them in solving what looks like a copycat killing. Instead, Will tells them he has something new to confess—but only to Alison.
While I enjoy comics across diverse genres and formats, the ones I love most have one thing in common: they’re queer. In my quest to read all the queer comics ever, I’ve come across some fantastic queer comics anthologies. From historical fiction to contemporary fiction to nonfiction, these are books full of diverse stories that explore the vast range of queer experience.
One thing I love about queer comics anthologies especially is that they’re a great way to learn about new comics creators. Several of these books were successfully kickstarted and self-published, and many of the contributors have ongoing webcomics. I don’t always love every story I read in every anthology, but for every story I’m lukewarm about, there’s one I adore. The best part is that then I can go find more work from that creator.
I love seeing queer stories in mainstream comics, especially when queer creators are the ones telling those stories. But mainstream publishing, comics included, still has a long way to go toward recognizing, celebrating, and promoting diverse queer voices. It’s still important to support books like these, books that are created in the community, where queer stories and queer creators are front and center, beautiful and unapologetic.
Beyond: The Queer Sci-Fi and Fantasy Comics Anthology edited by Sfé R. Monster and Taneka Stotts
This is a fantastic anthology of queer sci-fi and fantasy stories, featuring queer characters of all genders and sexualities being magical, exploring space, and brewing potions. There are monsters, dragons, pirates, princesses, robots, and more. The stories range from touching and sad to funny and action-packed. In all of them, queer people are having adventures, being badass, and generally running their own lives.
Note: There are two volumes of Beyond. The second volume focuses on post-apocalyptic and urban fantasy. I didn’t like it nearly as much as the first volume, and many of the stories seemed like straight-up fantasy, rather than dystopian. But I still appreciated the diverse styles and stories represented.
Dates II: An Anthology of Queer Historical Fiction Stories edited by Zora Gilbert and Cat Parra
When I read the editors’ rules for submissions to this anthology, I knew I had to have it. The rules were: 1) stories must feature queer characters, and 2) no one could die. So much of queer historical fiction (and sadly, queer fiction in general) revolves around queer suffering. In this anthology, queer characters throughout history thrive and survive. The stories take place throughout time and across the globe, from Mesopotamia during the reign of Hammurabi to 19th century Bengal to small-town USA in the 1950s. They all feature queer people making progress—whether personal, societal, technological, spiritual, etc. There are no tragic endings.
Note: There are two volumes of Dates and I’ve only read the second one. The comics in the first volume are much shorter and not organized around a theme.
We’re Still Here: An All-Trans Comics Anthology edited by Tara Avery and Jeanne Thornton
This anthology isn’t out yet, but it was successfully kickstarted, and I am so excited to read it! It’s a comics anthology entirely produced—written, drawn, and edited—by trans creators. The book includes fifty-five comics, fiction and nonfiction, ranging from fantasy to slice-of-life to memoir. The selection of art from the anthology on their Kickstarter page is gorgeous, and has me craving more. While waiting for it to come out, I’ve been enjoying perusing the work of the many talented creators who contributed to this anthology.
Love Is Love edited by
This anthology was published in the wake of the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. It’s a gorgeous book, with short comics of all kinds—fiction, nonfiction, poetical, personal—all celebrating and honoring the queer community, and especially the survivors and victims of the shooting. Some of the comics are stories and some are thoughts and poetry paired with art. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking and moving and affirming.
No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics edited by Justin Hall
Unlike the other anthologies listed here, this includes work from the past four decades, and serves as a kind of visual history of queer cartooning. It includes work from some big names, like Alison Bechdel and Dan Savage, as well as lesser-known comics creators whose work was never widely circulated, but part of a thriving underground queer comics scene. With so many amazing queer comic artists working today, it’s easy to forget that queer comics and cartoons have a long, rich history. This anthology is a great introduction to that history.
Looking for more queer comics? We’ve got you covered! Check out queer comics by creators of color, standalone comics featuring queer women, more fantastic comics about queer women, queer comics for kids, and queer comics for sci-fi fans.
“Which Fairytale Lady Are You?” is sponsored by The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg. Published by Henry Holt.
From Mallory Ortberg comes a collection of darkly mischievous stories based on classic fairy tales. Adapted from Mallory’s popular “Children’s Stories Made Horrific” series, The Merry Spinster takes up the trademark wit that endeared Ortberg to readers of both The Toast and Mallory’s best-selling debut Texts From Jane Eyre. Sinister and inviting, familiar and alien all at the same time, The Merry Spinster updates traditional children’s stories and fairy tales with elements of psychological horror, emotional clarity, and a keen sense of feminist mischief.
Admit it. You’ve wondered whether you’re more of a Cinderella or a Little Mermaid. Take this quiz to finally discover which fairytale lady you’re most like, and learn a lot more about what kind of person you are. Your results might surprise you.
In this regular feature, we give you a glimpse of what we are reading this very moment.
Here is what the Rioters are reading today (as in literally today). This is what’s on their bedside table (or the floor, work bag, desk, whatevskis). Your TBR list is about to get some new additions.
We’ve shown you ours, now show us yours; let us know what you’re reading (right this very moment) in the comment section below!
White Tears by Hari Kunzru: I picked this up because it was one of the more interesting ToB reads. And it pulled me in quickly. It is about the friendship of narrator Seth and his extremely wealthy yet troubled friend Carter who start a recording studio. If you are audiophile and/or blues buff, this haunting story is for you. It’s partly a ghost story, discussion of the abuse of power and racism, and so much more. (paperback)
The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton: Everyone’s talking about this one on my Twitter feed—it’s about a woman who won’t accept that her pilot boyfriend has broken up with her and takes a job as a flight attendant to keep an eye on him (and who knows what else she’ll do to him). Feels both appropriate and really unwise to take it with me on a flight to California, but I’ve got Lucy Vine’s probably hilarious What Fresh Hell with me to switch to if it all gets too much! (UK ARC)
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle: because it’s never too late to read a book that you are positive you must have read at some point, but only have the vaguest recollections of from your childhood.
What You Want To See (Roxane Weary #2) by Kristen Lepionka: I needed a good PI mystery to get lost into and I was a big fan of the first in the series, The Last Place You Look, so I bumped this up on my reading list. Cut to me up way past bedtime inhaling the first 200 pages because Lepionka has created a fantastic modern PI with an undercurrent feel of the classic PI novels. I really like Roxane Weary and equally root for her to succeed but also completely understand her struggles. I look forward to finishing the mystery but also am bummed it’s going to come to an end. (egalley)
Chinatown Days by Rita Chowdhury: I’m always behind on my goal to read more translations, and this one sounded well-researched and riveting, with a blurb by Amitav Ghosh to boot. (Aside: have you read Amitav Ghosh? Why haven’t you read Amitav Ghosh!?) The book is a translation of the Assamese novel Makam, a story of the community of Chinese Indians during the Indo-China war and its repercussions for those who were deported. (hardcover)
Meaty by Samantha Irby: There was a lot of buzz about Samantha Irby’s newest book, We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, and her debut essay collection, Meaty, is being re-released this year. Samantha Irby’s writing is funny and real and defiant, and I love her voice. And funny essays about food are one of my great weaknesses. 100% here for this book.
Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot: This memoir in essays is powerful. It’s a difficult read—Mailhot has had many struggles in her life and she writes about them openly and honestly—but it’s beautiful, passionate, and moving. (egalley)
A Scandalous Deal by Joanna Shupe (April 24, Avon): I’m on a historical romance kick this month and since I so very rarely feel like reading historicals lately I’m going to ride out my current mood as long as possible. Thus, even though this book doesn’t come out until the end of April I’m reading it now. In this second installment of Shupe’s The Four Hundred series, Lady Eva Hyde and Phillip Mansfield meet on a ship bound for NYC. A memorable meet-cute and shenanigans caused in part by champagne have me bingeing on this secret identity love story. (egalley)
The Favorite Sister by Jessica Knoll (May 15): I just started this book, so I don’t have much to say about the plot so far. I chose it, however, because I really liked Knoll’s debut, Luckiest Girl Alive. I’m in the mood for a fast-paced thriller, and from what I’ve heard this book is “un-put-down-able.” We’ll see! (egalley)
Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction by Annalee Newitz: Humanity has made a lot of mistakes, especially as regards care of our home. That said, there were five mass extinctions, during which at least 75% of species died out, before we ever got here, so odds are we’ve only accelerated the path to the sixth. In a departure from prevailing theory and the majority of science writers, however, Newitz envisions a post-disaster cosmos which still contains some humans (some). Carefully researched and extremely accessible, I’m enjoying the hell out of it and learning a ton while I do. (ebook)
Cobalt Squadron by Elizabeth Wein: This is a (1) Star Wars book (2) written by the author of one of my all-time favorites, Code Name Verity, (3) narrated by Kelly Marie Tran! I’m still not sure I’m not dreaming. Don’t tell me if I am. (audiobook)
Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer: I have never read anything by Krakauer but am a notorious sucker for all things cult. I’m so glad I finally picked this up. While the murders of Brenda Lafferty and her 18-month-old daughter, Erica, are the focus of the book, the amount of history of the Mormon faith contained is staggering. We learn about Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and the beginning of the religion, how the fundamentalists broke off from the mainstream Mormons, and the ways in which this split has impacted the religion’s present and future. You will come away knowing so much more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and their generations-long conflicts with their more radical brethren. (paperback)
The Thick of Things (In Medias Res Book 1) by J.L. Campbell: The Thick of Things is a mature romance set in Jamaica, and both main characters are from the Caribbean, the heroine being Jamaican and the hero hailing from Antigua. As an island girl myself, I’m always willing to pick up a book set in the Caribbean so that I can see how much culture is infused into the story. (eARC)
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara: I am continuing my phase of rereading. I am excited to see how I will respond to A Little Life a second time around, since I spent the first time reading it crying helplessly. (hardcover)
The Woman’s Hour by Elaine Weiss: This book is teaching me just how shamefully little I knew about the women’s suffrage movement and the ratification of the nineteenth amendment—and that probably makes it sound like a really dry read, but I’m only a few chapters in and already completely hooked. (egalley)
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: After seeing the trailer of the new adaptation starring Michael B. Jordan, I realized I hadn’t yet read this classic and ordered it from my local library. So far the language is really beautiful and I can see why so many others like it. (library paperback)
Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg: This book was loaned to me by a friend because the single copy at my library disappeared 8 months after I joined the hold list. A classic of LGBT literature, the story of Jess provides a glimpse of life in the LGBT community in the ’60s and ’70s, specifically that of lesbian women. It’s very readable, despite some hard scenes, and I have a small crush on Jess, which I think is how readers are supposed to feel. Jess—or rather Feinberg—is so good at intersectionality, highlighting the different ways that oppressions are hierarchical, yet all the same. I can’t wait to get back to finish it! (paperback)
Neverworld Wake by Marissa Pessl (Delacorte Press, June 5): I am so excited for this, I can barely sit still to read it. I am a huge fan of Special Topics in Calamity Physics and Night Film, Pessl’s “adult” books. (I have “NIGHT FILM 5 EVA!” tattooed on my butt.) (Okay, maybe I’m lying.) I think that the mystery/thriller YA market is waaaaaay too small, so a YA psychological suspense novel by Marissa Pessl? ALL THE HELL YEAHS. My body is ready. (egalley)
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi: So many Rioters have been raving about this book I had to check it out. And it’s well deserved praise. I’m only a few chapters in and can tell I’m going to have trouble putting it down. The pace is intense. This is the third book I’ve read in a row inspired by West African folklore, a great streak to keep up! (egalley)
American Panda by Gloria Chao: Picked up American Panda to get some of that Taiwanese American representation goodness. Super excited! (hardcover)
Tithe by Holly Black: A friend gave me her paperback because she was purging her bookshelves. I’m low-key obsessed with Black’s Modern Faerie Tale series and I figured a reread might help break me out of my book slump. The 13-year-old in me loves the angst and drama in Tithe, and grown-up me loves how Black plays with traditional fae lore. (paperback)
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters: Some narrator/audiobook pairings are good, some are meh, and some are magical. The Little Stranger on audio is magical. Simon Vance’s narration is exquisite and theatrical without being over the top, and I have fallen head-over-heels in love with this historical maybe-ghost story that owes a lot to Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw. The story takes a little while to pick up, but once it does, it’s spectacularly unsettling and creepy. (digital audiobook)
Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel: I don’t often read books about sex and relationships because of how horribly sexist most of them are, but every once in a while I stumble upon a gem. In this reflection on humanity’s capacity for sexually satisfying long-term monogamous relationships, Perel offers psychological and sociological insights that refreshingly contrast with the lazy stereotypes promoted by popular relationship gurus. I’m a little over halfway through and so far I’m finding it to be a truly enlightening read. (audiobook)
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata: I’m on kind of an “in translation” kick at the moment, so I was pretty happy when this Japanese novel showed up from the publisher. (galley)
Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life by Yiyun Li: Yiyun Li talks about mental health in her memoirs, as well how she handles her identity as a Chinese expatriate. She talks about how several people she knew died by suicide, and her own experiences in seeking out treatment. This is more than a book about mental health, however; it’s about writing. (Kindle ebook)
None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio: Because my brain said “light-hearted young adult fiction” and my heart said “how about this one about a teen born intersex and diagnosed after a very painful attempt at sex with her boyfriend? And then the whole school finds out and everyone bullies her for being born different?” It’s the opposite of light-hearted, but had me absorbed after a few minutes. (audiobook)
Christina M. Rau
catalog of unabashed gratitude by Ross Gay: I haven’t read a lot of poetry lately, and I’ve been wanting a feel-good pick-me-up, so this poetry collection is exactly what my life needs right now—and I’m reading it twice because its feel-goodness feels so good. (paperback)
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle: I have never read the book, but I wanted to see the movie because the previews for the movie were BEAUTIFUL, and I want to review the adaptation for my blog. This seems to be one of those books that everyone has read and LOVED, so I’m looking forward to joining the club. (Kindle)
Party Lines by Emma Barry: Goodreads recommended this romance to me after I finished reading Selena Laurence’s SCOTUS. Sometimes automagically generated book recs work out. (ebook)
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan: I was looking for a short read and I saw this book being recommended, so I decided to give it a go, since I have never read any book by Ian McEwan before. It’s not a fast-paced read, but I’m looking forward to see where it’s going. (Kindle)
The Badass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer: I bought this quite a while ago mostly because the title is a pretty fantastic draw. I’ve been trying to branch out in what I read and nonfiction has been so neglected, so I finally turned to this book to get me into the groove. (paperback)
Train Dreams by Denis Johnson: I devoured this Pulitzer-shortlisted novella in one sitting. Robert Grainer is a day labourer in the American West at the turn of the twentieth century. His life is a string of hardships interspersed with brief, so all the more cherished, joys. Johnson’s style is admirably restrained for the most part, but achieves transcendence in places—much like his protagonist’s story. Huge gratitude to the bookshop owner who recommended it to me. (paperback)
The Black Unicorn by Audre Lorde: This year I’m trying to constantly have a book of poetry going, and I’m also trying to read more of the books I own. This is a book of poetry I own but have never read all the way through, so it’s a win-win. (paperback)
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland (April 3rd): I got this as an Advanced Review Copy and wow, I am having a hard time putting it down. It’s clever and funny and gives me all kinds of anxiety because zombies. I remember the cover reveal for this book and I was immediately sold. The dead rise after the battle of Gettysburg and now the “freed” slaves are the zombie-hunters? It does not disappoint. (ebook)
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory: I had heard fabulous writers like Roxane Gay and Nicole Cliffe buzz about this book leading up to its release, so I snapped it up the second my Audible credit became available. I have been so delighted by this fun, sexy romance. The characters have textured lives beyond their love story, so even though it’s charming and sweet, it rings very true. I’ve spent a few long afternoons smiling, sighing, and blushing as this played during my spring cleaning, a situation I highly recommend. (audiobook)
Bossypants by Tina Fey
This is a long overdue read for me, so the “celebrity memoir” task for the 2018 Reader Harder Challenge was the perfect reason to finally get around to it. I’m listening to the audiobook, and it’s kept me laughing on my commute—I’ll be sad when it ends! (library audiobook)
The Child in Time by Ian McEwan: PBS, especially the Masterpiece series, is responsible for bringing many books to my attention. Such is the case here. I saw a commercial for a new movie/show called The Child in Time. A day later I was walking through the bookstore and saw this book, so of course I had to get it. Stephen and his three-year-old daughter Kate go to the market to pick up a few items whileKate’s mother Julie gets a little sleep. Stephen turns to talk to the cashier and then turns back to his daughter and she isn’t there. Kate is gone, just like that. In an instant, Stephen and Julie’s lives are forever changed. (paperback)
James Wallace Harris
Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker: Enlightenment Now makes an overwhelming case that we shouldn’t be pessimistic about the future. Pinker claims The Enlightenment is still a work in progress, and that science and liberal ideals are succeeding even while under tremendous attacks. Enlightenment Now is comforting, infuriating, depressing, and uplifting. Pinker wants us to know that the human race is doing amazingly well if you look at our progress statistically. And yes, his data does give me hope for the future. Pinker’s book is also scary. Much of his evidence supports my liberal views, but some of his data supports conservative views and that make me uncomfortable. It’s very hard to reconcile the optimism of this book with the pessimism of the nightly news.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz: I’m finally getting around to listening to this audiobook, which has been in my Audible library forever. Ari and Dante are both struggling with their identities and are helping each other answer big life questions with their disparate yet complementary personalities. It’s narrated by Lin-Manuel Miranda and he’s literally the perfect voice to bring these two misfit teenagers to life. (audiobook)
Lost in the Beehive by Michele Young Stone: This book is blowing me away. It starts in the ’60s, when Gloria is sent to an Institute to help with “inappropriate feelings” she has for a friend, and follows her through adulthood. The character development is exquisite and the storytelling is drawing me in so much that I never want to put it down. The shifting cultural and geographical attitudes make an interesting backdrop to this love story of sorts. (ARC).
The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch: Usually when I fall in love with a book, I don’t want to put it down. I inhale the thing in one big snort, and then…I mourn the fact that it is over. By contrast, I’ve been trying to read Yuknavitch’s lyrical memoir as sloooooowly as possible, because I’ve never read anything quite like it before. And I know that once I finish it, that’s it. I’m screwed. Real talk: Yuknavitch makes me realize what memoir can be. And for a writer, that’s daunting as hell.
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara: Like most true crime fans/murderinos, this book’s release date has been on my calendar for awhile and I was stoked to finally dive into it. McNamara passed away before she was able to complete her book on the Golden State Killer, but her editors have done a good job at stitching together the pieces in a way that is both satisfying and still maintains her voice. However, listening to it home alone with headphones on at night definitely freaked me out a few times and compelled me to make sure all my doors and windows were locked. (audiobook)